XML Search Engine Holy War - Attributes vs. Elements

DuCharme, Robert DuCharmR at moodys.com
Fri Oct 15 22:30:02 BST 1999

>1. Ignore Attributes all together and index Elements and Character Data

>The feeling is that the use of attributes should be restricted (by
>authors) and used to allow other scripts/applications to either include
>or preclude the element and resultant children nodes from some sort of
>processing, displaying or further manipulation.  

This shouldn't even be considered. Attributes are used for far more than
what the above paragraph describes. Typical uses include many classic search
criteria such as meta-information about authorship, revision stages, and
revision dates. The sole purpose of ID type attributes is to uniquely
identify elements, and unique identifiers ought to be pretty handy when
searching for information. A system that can quickly locate elements with a
particular value in an IDREF type attribute would be very useful in link
maintenance and implementation.

Come to think of it, a system that left out element content might be more
useful than one that left out attributes. Of course I'm kidding, but a nice
thing about implementing storage of attributes is that they map more easily
to relational databases where ID and IDREF attributes can be easily indexed
for searching.

Bob DuCharme          www.snee.com/bob           <bob@  
snee.com>  "The elements be kind to thee, and make thy
spirits all of comfort!" Anthony and Cleopatra, III ii

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